June 2, 2017

Murray the moth watched the butterflies.

Murray always watched the butterflies.

It was his favorite thing to do. He loved their beautiful colors – the reds and blues and purples all shimmering together in the sunlight. He loved watching the butterflies more than anything else – more than the taste of nectar. More than the warm feeling of sunlight on his own wings.

But today was special. Today, you see, was the day of the great butterfly parade. It was a grand day. One day each spring, the butterflies lined up and flew, twirling and whirling and showing off their colors, around the whole garden, like a floating garland in the sky.

They couldn’t have picked a lovelier day for it. The sun shone bright on the green leaves and gilded the flowers in light.

The flowers were quite pretty, Murray thought, but the butterflies were beautiful.

Murray loved watching the butterfly parade. He loved the colors and he loved the way the sunlight almost made the butterflies glow.

But more than anything, he wanted to be a part of it. It had always been his dream … And maybe, he thought, today the dream could come true.

It was almost time for the parade to begin… Finally, in the last few moments, Murray screwed up his courage. He flew over to the butterflies. He tried to swallow his nerves as he watched them, sunning themselves, getting ready to fly.

“Can I….”

At first, he couldn’t make himself finish the question. But this was important. How would he ever get what he wanted if he didn’t ask? He tried again, raising his voice just a little bit louder.

“Can I join in the parade?” he asked.

I cannot describe for you, dear reader, the sound of butterflies laughing. As beautiful as butterflies are, their laughter is no pretty thing. The sound is high-pitched and raucous and – if I am to be honest, dear reader – a good deal like a squeal.

And that is the sound that poor Murray was subjected to.

“Of course you can’t join us,” the butterflies laughed, their voices chiming together in one high-pitched chorus.

“W-why not?” he asked, voice quivering.

“Who would want to look at an ugly little moth like you?” they chirped.

The question answered itself, he supposed.


Nobody wanted to look at him.

All the time he’d been watching the butterflies, it hadn’t occurred to him to look at himself. He was, he realized, a bit plain. His gray wings were nothing like their brilliant red and blue and pink and purple ones.

He supposed, quite sadly, that he really was ugly. His antennae drooped as he flew away, allowing the butterflies to make their final preparations in peace. Not, he thought grudgingly, that they could get any prettier.

Murray did not join the parade. But he could not help following behind it. He trailed a small distance behind the last beautiful butterfly, watching as they performed their intricate twirling dance, filling the air with color and beauty.

He gulped down his tears and tried to watch – tried to enjoy the performance. He was so set on this effort, trying to fight his own tears, dear reader, that he did not notice as droplets began to fall.

Fat raindrops fell, much to the butterflies’ dismay, slowly at first, but swiftly turning into a heavy spring downpour.

Oddly, the sun still shone, illuminating the rain so that it looked like drops of light were falling from the sky.

Murray did not notice the rain until the butterflies started disappearing, ducking beneath leaves and landing on trees. Butterflies, you see, cannot fly with wet wings. They raised their voices in panic, squeaking and chirping their alarm as they hid.

Murray did not quite realize that he was alone in the sky until the last butterfly had hidden, tucked safely out of the rain.

Murray was astounded… He was all by himself.

What is a moth to do when he’s all alone in the sky?

Murray did the only thing he could think of – he danced.

He whirled and twirled and spun through the rain, his gray wings gleaming with silvery iridescence as the raindrops fell.

Murray was not a butterfly. Murray was a moth. And his moth’s wings, light and slick with oil, allowed the rain to slide right off. And so Murray gleamed and glowed, shimmering as he soared and dipped and swayed through the sun-shower.

There was no butterfly parade that day.

But Murray, all on his own, outshone the beauty of the butterflies, dancing through the rain.

A moth cannot be a butterfly. A moth is just a moth. But even a moth can shine.


Writing Prompt:





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